UK-Australia trade deal: NFU calls for ‘urgent answers’

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The NFU has called on the government to issue ‘urgent answers’ on any UK-Australia trade deal amid fears over lower-standard agri-imports.

The union has outlined five key questions regarding the UK’s future trade policy and the ongoing negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Australia.

This follows reports suggesting the government is set to offer Australia a trade deal that includes a 15-year transition to zero-tariffs and zero-quotas.

The NFU’s questions include: What specific meaningful safeguards for domestic agriculture will be included in FTAs?

What is the government’s plan to continually review the impact of FTAs as they are implemented and through the lifetime of the agreements?

The union has also asked: Where is the comprehensive and cross-government strategy to improve productivity and competitiveness and to provide adjustment assistance for farming in respect to the changing market conditions resulting from new FTAs?

It added: Where is the government’s response to the Trade and Agriculture Commission’s report in March 2021 and why has the new statutory Trade and Agriculture Commission that will need to scrutinise trade deals before they are signed not yet been set up?

Lastly, the NFU asked: What precedent does the government expect will be set by each FTA and where is the detailed economic assessment of the cumulative impact on domestic UK agriculture of all the UK’s current and future FTAs?

The union’s president Minette Batters said it was ‘incredibly disappointing ‘to hear news of the UK’s trade strategy from ‘sources other than the government themselves’.

“There remains a huge amount of unanswered questions about exactly how decisions regarding trade policy have been made, on what basis and how it will operate in the future.”



by Farming UK



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